DGS and Kitchell go for silver, come back with gold

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (July 20, 2011) – With the renovations completed on two 20-story office towers that achieved LEED® Gold Certification, Sacramento can lay claim to being even greener, and the State of California Department of General Services (DGS) and Kitchell can boast another project that met or exceeded expectations for the well-known environmental building standard.

The renovation of the California State Department of Social Services Headquarters and Training Center in Sacramento, Calif. was originally planned to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Silver (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The project was ultimately able to qualify as a LEED® Gold building. Kitchell served as the project’s construction manager.

“To ensure we achieved Silver certification we planned for more points than were needed. With diligence and collaboration, we were able to accumulate and document enough points to obtain Gold on a Silver budget,” said Kitchell Senior Project Manager Ron Duek.

In particular, the team was able to recycle as much as 72 percent of non-hazardous construction waste and more than 90 percent of the building structure and exterior skin was re-used. New green finishes included 15,000 square yards of carpet made from recycled materials and painted finishes using low VOC paints. Overall, the project exceeded Title 24 Energy Design Requirements by 19 percent and baseline water use was reduced by about 40 percent.

The original structures, which contained 632,600 square feet of space, were completed in 1969 and didn’t meet 21st Century safety, accessibility, and engineering standards. Essentially, the work involved both demolition and upgrades to the existing mechanical, electrical, plumbing, phone, elevator and security systems; new interiors; and construction of a new 7,800-square-foot lobby that connected the two towers.

The team also installed a new state-of-the-art fire sprinkler system, complete with a fire pump, 20,000-gallon storage tank and emergency generator, as well as a smoke control system and air distribution system. If a fire were to occur, it would trigger a pressurization system to contain the smoke to a single floor and activate other life-safety systems in the building. Other upgrades included installing 256 large viscous dampers throughout to reinforce the building structure.

“In addition, a new stairwell was cut into each tower to improve egress and each floor utilized an existing air handler unit, which we tied into the new systems,” said Duek. “So the project required quite an extensive coordination effort to get everything operational and balanced.”

This is the third notable State project within recent months that Kitchell has been involved with that obtained LEED® Certification. Last May Kitchell completed the Salinas Valley State Prison’s Additional 64-bed Mental Health Facility, the first California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation project to obtain LEED® Silver Certification. Another Kitchell LEED® Gold-Certified project is the State of California Department of General Services’ School for the Deaf Chilled Water Central Plant

“We have prepared for the increased emphasis on meeting green building standards by bringing in the right people with the right credentials,” said Kitchell CEM President Russell Fox.